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Hogwash and Growing Economic Concerns

By Phil Butler | November 11, 2011

In  news from NASDAQ, US home prices fell in almost 75% of the metropolitan areas in the US. Third quarter numbers revealed that renewed weakness in the market the second half of this year, median house prices dropped on a fairly massive scale.

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, prices rose in only 39 of 150 metro areas followed by the trade group.  The average price of a single family home sold in the third quarter was down almost 5% from the previous year, coming in at just ove

The America Dream

The American Dream starts with a job and money in the bank

$169,000. Nationwide, "distressed property," accounted for almost one third of all transactions, making the numbers all the more dismal when compared to normal market conditions.

While these reports always seem to contain forward and positive sounding sentiments about growth and market conditions looking up, clearly the situation worldwide is far from hopeful. Low prices do beef up the numbers too. Imagine what the situation would be if there were no distressed property buyouts, paper exchanges, package deals for banks, etc. Grandstanding now begins to look more like its true self, one good example being another NAofR news release proclaiming Realtors as defenders of the American Dream.

National Association of Realtors President Ron Phipps jumped on this meat wagon so:

“For the first time in generations, the American dream of homeownership is being threatened. We need to keep housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda, because housing and home ownership issues affect all Americans.”

Housing and home ownership, to be quite frank, are on the one hand the bread and butter of fat cat real estate brokers, and on the other a dream the little guy has of having something to show. The first priority, the only priority worth talking about in the political arena now, should be jobs for Americans - home ownership and fat cat brokers can stand in line.

The kind of rhetoric people hear from politicians (real estate ones or not) has seen the time come and go, the real answers reside in practical solutions to the employment situation - then in how we allow investments and the country to operate. Blow hard trumpeters whose bottom line has been affected, jumping to the bloody pulpit when it suits an agenda, this is rubbish. While these sharks squabble over rescue funds from taxpayers, we must hope someone in Washington or somewhere is focused on resolving America's real trouble - people with no jobs, or dead end ones that create no growth.

Welcome home veterans of foreign wars

Welcome home GI Joe, serving up the American Dream punch

The NAR naming Chrysler as their official automotive manufacturer, tireless real estate agents making the American Dream possible, launching international websites (aren't they all?), and so on, these press releases are a misty shadow of what is really going on. Just read about the 30% of young American veterans out of work. 12.1 percent unemployment within their ranks, those who fight for the American Dream cannot even eat. Yet steak eating real estate executives and politicians still juggle their conferences, the moving feast of waste and greed. It's about time these people shut up.

The stories never seem to end. Bank of America finding ways to get fees on unemployment benefits. And while some media outlets report less unemployment benefits being paid out as some sort of victory, the read story is so many have run out of benefits it is pitiful. AP reports unemployment has stricken some so hard, there is no money left. How's that for an American Dream?

Let Phipps sell them on a home ownership package. Meanwhile, the American President is summoned to the East White House by his Asian contemporaries. He gestures the US is not worried by China's growing preeminence as a world economic power. The Obama subtly begs China to save the EU and the eurozone. the bottom line on all this is pretty simple.

Just like a client of our PR firm suggested for the travel industry, there is no equation for continued sustainable growth for the world economy, not with ravenous expenditures and inefficiencies. Tom Magnuson talked to this writer two weeks ago about the business of online travel - as he suggested, a once economical solution turned sour by greed and excessive commissions. As Magnuson suggests, industry middlemen and hangers on have all but crippled us all. The time for hogwash is about over.

Photos courtesy © Dmitry Ersler  and © Gramper -


Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
  • 2 comments on “Hogwash and Growing Economic Concerns”

    1. Wow. You seem to forget (or simply ignore) many things in your angry rant. Such as: when someone buys a home, they usually also buy stuff to go in that home and need the services of others, which in turns puts money in the pockets of the people that they buy stuff from, which in turn gives those people money to spend on stuff - and so on and so on. And.. real estate is cyclical. Just like economies. Prices go up. Prices go down. You should try looking at the long term history of real estate values. And.. we have to live somewhere. Are we to become a nation of renters? Someone still owns those rental properties. And... all real estate is local. Not all areas saw 30-40+ drops in value. In my own city, we've only seen about 15% and that is completely due to the time that it sells, not forclosures. There are few of those because we did not have a bubble to burst. Part of the problem is that there are so many out there, like you and the mass media, that are making the broad statements about the real estate market that are simpley not true across the board, yet the public doesn't know that. I call this the "Chicken Little" syndrome. But, the sky is not falling.

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